Dialectical notes are a form of dialogue between ourselves and a piece of literature. In them, we note particular passages or events occurring in the piece and comment thoughtfully on them, therefore learning more about the literature.
ASSIGNMENT: All responses must be in complete sentences and each entry should take at least ONE page to complete. Your dialectical notes should address all of the following components:
Summary Write a brief summary about what is happening in the scene where you extracted the quote. Make sure to establish context and demonstrate knowledge of events throughout the novel.
Connection Make a connection to the world outside of the novel. Connect the quote with a historical or current event or to a novel or movie you are familiar with. This is known as an allusion. You may only use any particular event, novel, movie, etc. twice.
Analysis Reveal and explain the purpose of a literary tool or device that the author has used in your selected quotation. For example show how the author uses imagery, tone, personification, conflict, symbolism, metaphors and similes (imagery), diction, sound devices, etc. and the devices impact or relevance to the text. You can find a list of AP literary terms on my Web page under “Handouts & Documents”. You may only use any particular literary device once.
Evaluation Answer the questions: what is the author’s purpose; what is the author trying to convey? This is also known as the abstract idea. Refer to your connection and analysis to help you determine the author’s purpose and explain whether the author was effective.
Structural Note: With each entry be sure to include the page number where your “text inspiration” may be found. Also, bullet each of the four entry components for clarity and ease in grading.
Example: Based on “My Name” by Sandra Cisneros
*WHETHER HANDWRITTEN OR TYPED, YOUR ASSIGNMENT SHOULD LOOK LIKE THIS!*
Dialectical Notes for Novel Title
“I would like to baptize myself under a new name, a name more like the real me, the one nobody sees.”
(Chapter 4, page 11)
- Summary – Esperanza does not like her given name. From other events in chapter, we know that she thinks her name is ugly and envies the names of others. She feels like her name binds her to a certain future and wants to choose a name of her own.
- Connection – I would connect this to Flannery O’Connor’s short story “Good Country People”. The main character, Joy, changes her name to Hulga so that her outside matches her inside. It parallels Cisneros’ ideas as well as the humor. This piece would work well as a paired reading with “Good Country People”.
- Analysis – Cisneros uses the religious imagery of baptism to convey the significance of such a name change. Esperanza wants to wash herself clean of the baggage attached to her name and begin her life anew with a name free of the sins of her ancestors, just as the act of baptism washes one free from sins toward God and man.
- Evaluation – I appreciate that the narrator, at such a young age, realizes that the names we are given can be very different from the names we choose. I think Esperanza is a deep thinker and mature for her age due to this observation.